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SriLankan to boost India flights

COLOMBO

State-run SriLankan Airlines will axe its loss-making run to Rome and boost frequencies to China, India and the Middle East after getting using its newly acquired Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

SriLankan Airlines said it was responding to competition by “re-evaluating its current operations and re-deploying capacity to more sustainable routes and destinations,” reports Economynext.

SriLankan operates 88 flights a week to seven Indian destinations and 26 flights to Male.

The carrier said its South Asian operations are also a lynchpin of its partnership with OneWorld, a global airline alliance.

The airline said it will continue non-stop flights from Colombo to London as the ‘main gateway’ to Europe. It will fly to Paris four times a week and a fight Frankfurt flight will be added during summer 2016.

SriLankan has said it was losing money on European routes, especially with older fuel-guzzling A340 aircraft which have now been phased out.

An earlier attempt to cut the Rome flight was reportedly thwarted by ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa following lobbying by sections of the clergy.

Sri Lanka’s high end tourist hotel lobby is also pressuring the airline to operate loss-making routes to Europe at the expense of the people to safeguard their own profits.

The airline started to lose money after Dubai-based Emirates terminated its management deal over a disagreement with the ousted Rajapaksa regime.

SriLankan said it will start daily flights to Riyadh and six flights a week to Jeddah. It now flies 42 times week to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait in the Middle East.

China, which is catching up with India as the top tourist destination is also a key focus area. The airline said I recently started to fly non-stop three times a week to Guangzhou.

It flies to Beijing, Shanghai, Canton and Kunming in the mainland 18 times a week and three times a week to Hong Kong.

SriLankan operates 19 flights week to Singapore and twice a day to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

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